Archive for Vizio

Vizio To Face Lawsuit Over TVs That Spy On You

Posted in Commentary with tags on March 8, 2017 by itnerd

The timing of this next story could not be worse for Vizio seeing as TVs that can spy on you is top of mind thanks to WikiLeaks. You might recall that Vizio got slapped by the FTC for having TVs that collected data on users without their consent. Well, things just got worse for them as they’re now going to have to defend a lawsuit in regards to this:

The lawsuit makes a variety of federal and state claims over the way Vizio’s Smart TVs use content recognition software to collect and report users’ content viewing histories. When consumers bought the TV sets, factory settings automatically enabled data collection, and while the company disputes that viewing data is coupled with personally identifiable information such as name or contact information, the plaintiffs assert that researchers have been able to figure out who is watching what based on IP addresses, zip codes, product model numbers and other data. The plaintiffs also allege that Vizio hadn’t adequately disclosed its privacy practices and that to turn off the data collection meant navigating obscure setting options.

Seeing as the company is trying to sell itself to China’s LeEco for $2 billion, the question has to be if Vizio will simply settle out of court to make this go away. After all, seeing as they’ve been previously called out by the FTC, their chances in court may not be too good. But I am not a lawyer. Watch this space for updates as they come.

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FTC Spanks Vizio For $2.2 Million For Collecting Data From Smart TV’s Without User Consent

Posted in Commentary with tags on February 8, 2017 by itnerd

I am no fan of smart TVs. I cite these four examples of why you should not ever buy one. And you will not see me with one in my home. Now there’s a fifth reason not to buy one. The FTC just made smart TV manufacturer Vizio pay $2.2 million dollars to settle a case where Vizio had been collecting data on what owners of their smart TVs were doing without their consent:

The stipulated federal court order requires VIZIO to prominently disclose and obtain affirmative express consent for its data collection and sharing practices, and prohibits misrepresentations about the privacy, security, or confidentiality of consumer information they collect. It also requires the company to delete data collected before March 1, 2016, and to implement a comprehensive data privacy program and biennial assessments of that program.

According to the agencies’ complaint, starting in February 2014, VIZIO, Inc. and an affiliated company have manufactured VIZIO smart TVs that capture second-by-second information about video displayed on the smart TV, including video from consumer cable, broadband, set-top box, DVD, over-the-air broadcasts, and streaming devices.

In addition, VIZIO facilitated appending specific demographic information to the viewing data, such as sex, age, income, marital status, household size, education level, home ownership, and household value, the agencies allege. VIZIO sold this information to third parties, who used it for various purposes, including targeting advertising to consumers across devices, according to the complaint.

According to the complaint, VIZIO touted its “Smart Interactivity” feature that “enables program offers and suggestions” but failed to inform consumers that the settings also enabled the collection of consumers’ viewing data. The complaint alleges that VIZIO’s data tracking—which occurred without viewers’ informed consent—was unfair and deceptive, in violation of the FTC Act and New Jersey consumer protection laws.

You have to wonder how many other smart TV makers are doing something like this? Care to place bets on that?